A Classic Reborn: Discover the Allure of the 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Makeover

While some enthusiasts prioritize originality over all other factors, others are willing to accept modifications to a classic as long as those changes are tasteful and sympathetic. That brings us to this 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7. Its presentation is impressive, and it has no apparent significant needs. However, the documentary evidence suggests it has undergone a color change. That may motivate some to give it a wide berth. In contrast, others will view it as a one-owner turnkey proposition with a claimed 10,000 original miles on the clock, offering immediate motoring enjoyment. The XR-7 is listed here on eBay in Peoria, Arizona. Bidding currently sits below the reserve at $16,500.

There’s no doubt this Cougar makes a positive first impression. Its combination of Dark Ivy Green with a White vinyl top oozes class, with the seller admitting it has undergone a repaint. However, those craving originality might come up short when they examine the Window Sticker and discover the first owner ordered it in Light Ivy Yellow. Regular readers know my stance on originality, but I think the change is positive. I find the darker shade considerably more attractive and in keeping with Mercury’s desire to market the Cougar as a more luxurious alternative to the Mustang. Of course, that opinion is subjective, and yours may be different. One of the classic scene’s greatest attributes is its ability to encompass differing views. The paint and vinyl look excellent, with no evidence of deterioration or distress. The Cougar has spent its life in Arizona, making the lack of rust in its beautifully straight panels, floors, or other prone areas unsurprising. The trim and tinted glass look spotless, and the Mercury rolls on its original wheels wrapped in tires from the good folks at BF Goodrich.

If first impressions count, the news seems optimistic when examining this Cougar’s interior. The contrasting trim and upholstered surfaces in White and Black look classy, with no significant wear or signs that Arizona’s sun has taken a toll on vinyl or plastic. Closer examination reveals deterioration in some faux woodgrain, a cracked wheel rim, and a broken driver’s door pull handle. Replacements for these parts are readily available, but a brief online search confirms the wheel will probably be the most expensive to replace. However, the overall presentation is acceptable if the buyer seeks a driver-grade classic. I would probably exercise patience if I found this Mercury in my garage. I would regularly scan the usual auction sites for another wheel because they do appear occasionally at reasonable prices. The air conditioning, AM radio with the optional rear speaker, and center console emphasize the feeling of luxury inside this beauty.

The original owner ordered this XR-7 powered by a 351ci V8, producing 290hp and 385 ft/lbs of torque. The Window Sticker confirms they also selected a three-speed automatic transmission and power assistance for the steering and front disc brakes. The combination allows this Cougar to cover the ¼-mile in 15.9 seconds, which brings us to a point to ponder. Mercury marketed the Cougar as a luxury pony car, and most people recognize that this approach could involve compromise. The Cougar features more luxurious trim than an equivalent Mustang, and occupants benefit from increased sound-deadening material. Those changes add to vehicle weight, and the Cougar/Mustang cousins are no exception. An equivalent Mustang will cover the ¼-mile in 15 seconds, and because they both benefit from the same drivetrain combination, the several hundred extra pounds being dragged by the Cougar’s V8 accounts for the difference. The seller doesn’t indicate whether this XR-7 retains its original drivetrain, although they claim it has a genuine 10,000 miles on the clock. They don’t mention verifying evidence. However, it could be hidden in the collection of documentation that includes the Window Sticker, Build Sheet, Owner’s Manual, Warranty Book, and Dealership Paperwork. Potential buyers should consider it a turnkey proposition where the new owner can fly in and drive it home.

I view this 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7 as a mystery machine. Verifying it is a one-owner vehicle will not be complicated. Confirming the odometer reading may be straightforward if that owner has been meticulous with the maintenance and recordkeeping. However, the question of why it has undergone a color change is never explained in the listing. That question is worth asking unless the color on the Window Sticker is incorrect. One glance at the Trim Tag would reveal the truth, and requesting a shot of that might be the easiest way to settle that question. I can’t find any glaring issues that might deter me from pursuing this classic further, and that would seem to be the case with the twelve people who have submitted twenty-seven bids at the time of writing. Are you tempted to join them, or would you ask some questions first?






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